BUFFALO – All week, Jack Eichel, the mega-prospect the Sabres will select second overall in three weeks, has been getting a feel for his future home.
The 18-year-old Boston University superstar, in town for the NHL Scouting Combine, has enjoyed being welcomed by locals eager to greet their new hero and exploring the city.
“Everyone talks about Buffalo’s chicken wings, I got a chance to try those,” Eichel told a throng of reporters and cameras this afternoon inside HarborCenter. “I’m just trying to take it all in.”
Still, as much as Eichel will tell you he likes Buffalo, he’s not ready to commit to turning professional. Yes, going back for his sophomore season is still a possibility.
The decision, Eichel said, likely won’t come until after the NHL Draft on June 26.
“Nothing’s changed,” Eichel said. “I think I still have a lot of people to talk to. It’s definitely a tough decision to make.”
What’s the biggest part of Eichel’s decision?
“I don’t want to be somewhere I don’t want to be,” Eichel said. “So that if it ends up that my heart tells me that I want to move on and try to play in the NHL, then that’s what I want to do. If my heart says I want to get to BU, then that’s what I’m going to do.”
The Terriers, who lost the national championship game, should be strong contenders again in 2015-16. The rebuilding Sabres, meanwhile, still might be a year away from contending for a playoff spot.
“BU’s going to have a good team next year,” Eichel said. “There’s pros and cons in both situations. That’s what’s going to make my decision tough.”
Ultimately, Eichel said, he will talk with himself and his family about his future.
Check back later for a full story on Eichel!